PetroCaribe deal makes Venezuela energy leader

Feb 25, 2007 01:00 AM

Venezuela has replaced Trinidad and Tobago as the dominant energy supplier in the Caribbean following the conclusion of the PetroCaribe agreement, says Foreign Affairs Minister Arnold Piggott. He was reporting on the energy debate at the 18th Intercessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of Caricom, which was held in St Vincent and the Grenadines from February 12-14.
Under the PetroCaribe programme, 14 Caribbean nations will receive preferential terms to buy oil from Venezuela.

He also reported that on February 9, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela concluded an agreement on the technical level for the unitisation of cross-border hydrocarbon resources. He said the draft must now be approved by local Cabinet and Venezuelan Congress, but could not provide a time frame for when the agreement would come before Cabinet.
Piggott added that if the agreement between the countries is enforced, there should be some relief in terms of energy supply and prices to Caricom states. He was speaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Port of Spain.

Responding to a question on the state of a Memorandum of Understanding for Trinidad and Tobago to supply Jamaica with liquefied natural gas, Piggott said at present, supply was not on stream and noted there has been dialogue between the respective Prime Ministers informing Jamaica on this country's natural gas supply constraints.
Speaking on the single economy aspect of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, which is scheduled for 2008, he said a number of mechanisms were put in place to facilitate this, including Trinidad’s TT$ 100 mm Caricom Trade Support programme and the creation of the Regional Development Fund (RDF), which will involve a total capital of some $ 250 mm over a four-year period and member states contributing $ 100 mm of that figure.

He announced that Trinidad and Tobago had agreed to contribute $ 67 mm to the RDF. This figure, based on a previously agreed upon formula, consists of $ 30 mm from the Petroleum Stabilisation Fund (PSF), which was started by this country in 2004 to assist Caribbean member states in the alleviation of poverty, and $ 37 mm in assessed contribution.
Piggott noted that under the PSF to date, a total of TT$ 420 mm had been allocated to provision of grant funding by his Government for quick disbursement to other Caricom states.

Source: PetroleumWorld.com / Trinidad Express
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